Sunday, August 9, 2015

Contrasting Pond Gap and Community Achieves

I have spoken with Jill Speering. She traveled to see the Pond Gap Program I referenced in last week's blog. Dr Bob Kronick has miraculous success with students in poverty he works with his after school program. During this program professors from the University of Tennessee spend time with small groups of students . They lead them through activities that teach them in non-classroom activities. Such as writing a play about a subject the whole group needs to learn about or engaging in activities similar to those you might see in Science Olympiad. Late in the afternoon these schools hold workshops for parents.  Before everyone goes home for the day families may be fed a meal made form plants grown in the programs garden.

This program not only provides high quality enrichment on core subject topics it also provides wrap around services for the families in poverty. The people in the community are surveyed to find what services would be the most helpful for them. Dr Kronick brings Social Services, Medical/ Dental services, laundry services, charity ministries and any other services the people in the community indicate they need. Each program is custom tailored for the children and families in that community.

Now I know that even though Community Achieves is attempting to address some of the effects relating to poverty it is not the affiliated with the work of Dr Kronick.

Which leads us to some interesting questions which could make a great beginning for universityn level studies. Are all wrap around services programs equally effective? What are the differences between the type of program Dr Bob Kronick creates and the community achieves program? And Finally- What are the best practices that make a wrap around program the most effective?

 I would love to see someone replicate Dr Kronick's work here in an MNPS school that is not in the Community Achieves program but has a high population of struggling families. Then I would love to see the results compared to the works Community Achieves is doing. If you are a doctoral candidate or you are part of a grant funded organization looking for an opportunity to create a high interest study this could be just the ticket. It would also be dream job for someone like me who would love to see children set free from the wicked downward spiral poverty creates.

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